Two very promising stars are competing in Courchevel. Polina Shelepen of Russia, who won both her Junior Grand Prix events and finished second at the Junior Grand Prix Final last season and American Jason Brown, the reigning U.S. Junior Champion.
Polina Shelepen is one of Russia's most promising up and coming skaters and this girl has a plan! Last month she spoke with Golden Skate's Tatjana Flade about her Junior debut last season and her goals. "I guess I can say that I fulfilled my plan to 50 percent. At the beginning of the season, I more or less did everything, then I wasn't in top shape towards the end. I think I have grown again and needed some time to adjust. But I really like being at the big competitions and enjoyed the Junior Grand Prix."
At just 15, she would have liked to have made her senior debut this season but will again compete in the Junior Ranks. Her coach Eteri Tutberidze explained, "We would have liked to move up to seniors in order to save time. Polina's job isn't so much to achieve certain placements, but to improve her overall skating. It is a process. The placements now aren't so important. It is important where we will finish in figure skating in ten or more years."
Olympic Champion in Sochi? Who knows...
Back on home soil Jason Brown is quickly moving up the ranks and he is doing so with some flair. I've had my eye on this guy since 2007 when he won at the U.S. Junior Championships (Juvenile Title) and he has steadily improved since. He medaled as an intermediate, as a novice, and won last season as a Junior. Also, I have to support the local skaters...chalk one up for Illinois! I remember watching his Short Program to "Hey Pachuco" at Nationals and thinking 'look at this kid go!' Then he did a complete 180 in the Free Skate performing to the "Pas de Deux" from The Nutcracker showing his versatility. I was impressed.
He makes his Junior Grand Prix this week in France and I have a feeling he is going to do well. He succeeds at everything he does and is an all around amazing guy. If you look at his Ice Network profile you see this huge list of amazing things he does including volunteering with the City Skate Outreach Program in Chicago and supporting Chicago Cares. He even turned his Bar Mitzvah into a charity project. That's awesome. And like Polina...he's only 15.
And I have to give Jason final props on his favorite show..."Glee". He's my kind of people!